Council election results round-up

UPDATE:  Thanks to the BBC deciding to use a bizarre modelling of seats and gains/losses, the figures are shite.  This is now the longest post ever and the accurate ones will be posted below.  Why did the BBC decide to use the parties as they were before the election rather than the time-honoured results at the last elections approach?  Naturally, the Nationalists sense a Labour-biased plot.  But the Labour figures are wrong for Glasgow so the BBC has managed to upset them too.  Can we all complain please, in a hitherto unknown breakout of party unity?

The worrying thing is that everyone will rely on this, including the Electoral Commission, as an accurate and authoritative source.  Very poor show from the BBC.

I think I’ve fixed it all but if not, post a comment with the right result and I will amend accordingly.

A run through the state of the parties in every local authority area, with a few words of analysis:


A great result for Labour with big gains at the expense of the Lib Dems but still no overall control.  SNP hoped to make gains but stood still – not bad considering they were lead partner in the city administration over a tough five years.

Who will run the council?  It’s a dilemma for Labour who won’t necessarily want to tie themselves in with the discredited Lib Dems.  Could they run as a minority with control and supply support from Tories and others?

BBC figs: Labour 16 (+9);  SNP 15 (no change);  Lib Dems 5 (-6); Conservatives 3 (-1);  Others 3 (-4)

The Steamie:  Labour 17, SNP 15, Lib Dems 5, Others 3, Conservatives 3

And from Mark McDonald MSP – it should be Labour 16 (+7); SNP 15 (+3); Lib Dems 5 (-10); Tories 3 (-2); Others 3 (+2) if based on 2007 election results….


Still a No Overall Control council but a big change in political make-up.  SNP make big gains, Lib Dems whacked, Labour get a toe-hold and the Scottish Greens secure a seat through Martin Ford, who defected from the Lib Dems over the Trump controversy.  Despite this latter one being linked to the First Minister, it made no bearing on the SNP’s popularity.

Who will run the council?  SNP will be tempted to run as a minority administration, which could be difficult given the numbers, or make a coalition with the Green and independents.  Don’t rule out the Tories, Lib Dems and independents trying to stay in power.

BBC figs:  SNP 28 (+7); Conservative 14 (+1);  Liberal Democrat 12 (-9); Others 11 (-2);  Labour 2 (+2); Scottish Green 1 (+1)

(appear to be accurate, though I had a typo with a minus against the SNP instead of a plus.  Sorry)


Great result for SNP taking a majority in its old fiefdom and a seat from each of the other three parties.  SNP will run the council and the natural, electoral order of things appears to be restored.

BBC figs: SNP 15 (+3);  Others 8 (no change);  Conservative 4 (-1);  Labour 1 (-1);  Lib Dem 1 (-1)

(appear to be accurate…)

Argyll and Bute

A traditional independent area, they have slipped back and SNP has made gains.  Who will run the council?  Could end up with an unholy alliance of Independent/Tory/Lib Dem to keep the SNP out.  Problem for the SNP is that an administration with Lib Dem would still not be enough for a majority.

BBC figs: Others 13 (-3);  SNP 12 (+3);  Conservatives 4 (+2);  Lib Dems 4 (-2)

What the BBC site didn’t say (though I had picked it up elsewhere and should’ve blogged it), is that one ward is still to vote – Dunoon – and will do so next Thursday.  So 3 seats still to be decided).


The country’s wee-est county, this could be the most intriguing result.  It’s all rather as you were with no overall control and the SNP and Labour on the same number of seats.  Labour  might argue “moral authority” as they gained a seat but SNP could hang on for a minority administration.

BBC figs: Labour 8 (+1);  SNP 8 (no change);  Conservatives 1 (no change);  Others 1 (no change);  Lib Dems 0 (-1)

(appear to be accurate)

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Every council election we are promised a party political breakthrough and?  Naw.  Independents rule, though many are in fact connected to parties.  The SNP did make some gains though.  Who will run the council?  The independents, who are in no way a group of course.

BBC figs: Others 21 (-4);  SNP 7 (+3);  Labour 3 (+1)

(appear to be accurate)

Dumfries and Galloway

Some suggestion that my homeland doesn’t much like party politics.  Labour emerges as largest group, thanks to losses for the Tories.  SNP stand still, “others” gain.  And on a personal note, I’m delighted that the SNP held my pops’ old ward – he retired this year after 20 years local service for party and community.

Who will form the council? It was a Tory-Independent administration last time round and still is no overall control.  Problem is the Tories are still likely to be needed if Labour wants to form a coalition….

BBC figs: Labour 15 (no change);  Conservatives 14 (-3);  SNP 10 (no change);  Others 7 (+5);  Lib Dems 1 (-2)

(appear to be accurate)


A good result for the SNP, consolidating its hold on the city by securing a majority after running a minority administration over the last three years.   They will run the council for another five.

BBC figs: SNP 16 (+2);  Labour 10 (+2); Conservatives 1 (-2);  Lib Dems 1 (-1);  Others 0 (-1)

the Steamie:  SNP 16, Labour 10, Lib Dems 1, Independent 1, Conservative 1

East Ayrshire

The SNP has consolidated its hold on a key West of Scotland area and might now not need to rely on the Tories to run the council.  A minority administration beckons, with a bauble for the Independent.

BBC figs: SNP 16 (+1);  Labour 14 (-1); Conservatives 2 (-1);  Others 1 (+1)

the Steamie:  SNP 15, Labour 14, Conservatives 2, Independents 1

(this was probably my typo)

East Dunbartonshire

This council shows what the paucity of ambition can achieve.  Little change.  The SNP returned all its candidates, Labour gained directly from the Tories and finish in poll position.

Who will run the council?  A Labour, Lib Dem and Independent Alliance administration seems likely.

BBC figs: Labour 8 (+2);  SNP 8 (no change);  Lib Dems 3 (no change);  Others (East Dunbartonshire Independent Alliance) 3 (no change);  Conservatives 2 (-2)

(appear to be accurate)

East Lothian

One of the reversals of fortune for the SNP, even though it stood still.  Labour gained directly from the wipeout of the Lib Dems.

Who will run the council?  Labour could try for a minority administration, which might be more palatable than a link up with the Tories, particularly if it secures the support of the Independent.

Labour 10 (+3);  SNP 9 (no change);  Conservatives 3 (+1);  Others 1 (no change);  Lib Dems 0 (-4)

(appear to  be accurate)

East Renfrewshire

Now, how can it be that councils like Highland and Argyll and Bute which cover huge land masses and have to helicopter ballot boxes into the count, can produce their results before a tiny urban authority with a smattering of seats?  Even with a recount (in Highland).  The last council in Scotland to declare, there was a bit of shuffle around the margins but Labour is still the biggest group, the Lib Dems have nowt, the SNP did ok and the Tories only lost one.

Who’ll run the council?  Labour might want to run a minority administration but it will need the help of Independents to do even that.  Labour-Tory?  Labour-SNP?  Tory-SNP-Independents?  The phones will be red hot all weekend.

Labour 8 (+2);  Conservatives 6 (-1);  SNP 4 (+1);  Others 2 (-1);  Lib Dems 0 (-1)

(appear to be accurate)

UPDATE:  actually no, despite this being the last one put up by the BBC so they had hours to correct things, apparently the gains and losses are still wrong.  So says Stewart Maxwell MSP, and he’d know, you think.  So actual results:  Lab 8(+1);  Conservatives 6 (-1);  SNP 4 (+1); Others 2 (no change);  Lib Dem 0 (-1).

We’re done here.  Even if we aren’t.


A tumultous result with the Lib Dem council leader, Jenny Dawe, losing her seat, the SNP depute council leader, Steve Cardownie, only scraping home on the 5th transfer,  and even Labour leader Andrew Burns, only getting in in 3rd place.  A good election for the Scottish Greens who return stronger and will no doubt play a key role in the horse trading ahead.  A disastrous outcome for the Lib Dems, the Tories stand still. Both Labour and the SNP made gains.

Who will run the council?  Who knows.  Labour has the moral authority as biggest group to try and seek to form a coalition. Here’s a novel thought – couldn’t SNP and Labour work together (with the Greens to hold the recyclable jaikets) to provide stability and dynamism to the country’s capital?

Labour 20 (+5);  SNP 18 (+5);  Conservatives 11 (no change);  Scottish Greens 6 (+3);  Lib Dems 3 (-13)

(appear to be accurate)


No change whatsoever.  Same as it was.  Don’t know why anyone bothered.

Who’ll run the council?  Think it was an SNP-independents administration previously which might well continue. (thanks to Kirsty Connell from Better Nation for clarifying that it was a Labour, Independent, Tory administration previously and will likely be so again).

Labour 14 (no change);  SNP 13 (no change);  Others 3 (no change);  Conservatives 2 (yep, no change)

(appear to be accurate)


Some vindication perhaps for the organisational capabilities of John Park MSP with Labour making huge gains in a direct transfer from the hapless Lib Dems, including winning a first ever seat in St Andrews.  The SNP was probably damaged by the Bill Walker affair in the Dunfermline wards.  And in a wee bonus, the only UKIP councillor in the land lost.  This is a very, very good result for Labour, even though the SNP also increased its tally.

Who will run the council?  Labour might not want to work with the Lib Dems but it might not have any choice.  A deal with the Independents in the region is still one short of a majority.

Labour 35 (+11);  SNP 26 (+4);  Libs Dems 10 (-11);  Others 4 (-2);  Conservatives 3 (-1);  UKIP 0 (-1)

(appear to be accurate)


BBC Scotland appears to have wiped out history by claiming this as a Labour gain from no overall control.  Hmm.  Now if the SNP hadn’t spun itself out of control with its claims to take the city, this would actually have been a very good result for them.  Labour down, the SNP up, no traction for Glasgow First and a Lib Dem meltdown.  Oh and the Greens held their own.

The real story of the day – an opportunity to reform, reshape and rejuvenate this most rotten of boroughs lost.  Though here’s hoping having had a big scare, Labour stops taking the people of the dear green place for granted.

Who will run the council?  Labour of course with its wafer thin majority.  I’d be insuring it with regular health check-ups for all councillors.

BBC figs last night: Labour 41 (-1);  SNP 27 (+7); Scottish Green 5 (no change);  Conservatives 1 (no change);  Lib Dems 1 (-6);  Others 1 (-7)

BBC figs today: Labour 44 (+5); SNP 27 (+7); Scottish Greens 5 (no change);  Conservatives 1 (no change);  Lib Dems 1 (-5);  Others 1 (-7)

the Steamie:  Labour 44, SNP 27, Green 5, Lib Dem 1, Conservatives 1, Independent 1

(now this is interesting.  I’m not stupid.  I did check back and forth between the figs while posting, and there has been the odd typo slipped through – pluses and minuses – which is why it seemed like compiling war and peace.  But the BBC figs have changed this morning.  Hmmm)

So in an attempt to provide clarity – ha!  In 2007, the result was:  Labour 45;  SNP 22;  Lib Dems 5;  Greens 5;  Tories 1 and Solidarity 1.  The Solidarity councillor defected to Labour (46);  2 defections from SNP (20) to Lib Dems (6) and Independent (1).  by-election resulted in SNP hold (20); another by-election and a Labour hold (46); 2009 by-election resulted in SNP (19) losing a seat to Labour (47).  Then we had the budget shenanigans.  Eventually, 9 Labour councillors resigned the whip (38) with one defecting to SNP (20) and 7 forming Glasgow First group.  What happened to the other one?!

So, at the start of the 2012 election, the state of the parties was:  Labour 38;  SNP 20, Lib Dems 6, Greens 5, Tories 1, Glasgow First 7 and Independent 2.  Any dissent?

And with results at 2012, Labour took 44 (+6 on 2012 or -1 on 2007); SNP 27 (+7 on 2012 or +5 on 2007)  Lib Dems 1 (-5 on 2012 or -4 on 2007);  Greens 5 (no change 2012 or 2007); Conservative 1 (no change 2012 or 2007);  Glasgow First 1 (-6 on 2012 or +1 on 2007)

At last, I think I’ve cracked it…. please feel free to disabuse me of this notion.


The only council result to produce a dramatic recount right at the end.  Both the SNP and Labour made some modest gains, with the SNP up to a very substantial grouping.  This also masked a few losses along the way, including a precious woman councillor in Pauline Munro.  But the Independents continue to rein supreme, with many Lib Dems removing their party cloak to ensure electability.  The only place in Scotland where the Lib Dems can still claim to have a substantial grouping.

Who’ll run the council? Same as always, it will be an Independent/Lib Dem coalition. (And whoever else wants in – at various points in the previous cycle, both SNP and Labour were involved).

Others 35 (no change);  SNP 22 (+4);  Lib Dems 15 (-6);  Labour 8 (+2)

(According to SNP election wise owl, Norman Will, the BBC interpretation of gains is wrong here.  SNP is up from 17 in 2007 so should show +5)


Labour consolidated its hold on the area after years of flirtation with the Lib Dems.  The SNP took a wee step forward but not enough to have a go at forming an-anyone-but-labour coalition.

Who’ll run the council?  Labour is one shy of a majority, so will probably hook up with the Independent to make sure.

Labour 10 (+2);  SNP 6 (+1); Lib Dems 2 (-1);  Conservatives 1 (no change);  Others 1 (-1);  Liberal 0 (-1)

(appear to be accurate)


Another which kinda snuck in without remark.  Labour lost control of this authority with the SNP gaining.  It’s now no overall control but the SNP could form a coalition with the Scottish Green – elected for the first time – and the Independent.

Labour 8 (-2);  SNP 8 (+2); Scottish Green 1 (+1); Independent 1 (+1);  Lib Dems 0 (-2)

(appear to be accurate)


The SNP had high hopes for this local authority, having controlled it for many years.  But here’s a thing – it’s also the home turf of the party’s election supremo, Angus Robertson MP.  And not a single seat gained.  The Tories and Labour both gained a seat and surely bag negotiating rights for a coalition.

Who will run the council?  If the SNP and Labour could work together?  No, probably not.  My money’s on Independents and Conservatives coming together.

Others 10 (-2);  SNP 10 (no change);  Conservatives 3 (+1);  Labour 3 (+1)

(appear to be accurate)

North Ayrshire

A good result for the SNP making substantial gains to become the largest party on the council, demonstrating that some have built upon the extraordinary parliamentary successes in 2011.

Who’ll run the council?  Surely the SNP and the Independents will come together to form a coalition.

SNP 12 (+4);  Labour 11 (-1);  Others 6 (no change);  Conservative 1 (-1); Lib Dems 0 (-2)

(appear to be accurate)

North Lanarkshire

Ah yes, another defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.  The SNP touted this, locally at least, as one where they had a better chance even than in Glasgow of toppling Labour.  And again, spectacular gains are overshadowed by failure to live up to expectations.  Labour holds its majority comfortably.

Labour 41 (+1);  SNP 26 (+5);  Others 3 (-4); Conservatives 0 (-1);  Lib Dems 0 (-1)

(appear to be accurate)


Twenty one seats all won by Independents.  No change.  Who’ll run the council?  All of them.

Perth and Kinross Council

The SNP still dominate but had hoped to gain a few more seats to make a majority.   For everyone else, it was all a little meh.  And Labour certainly have nothing to crow about here.

Who’ll run the council?  The SNP will probably team up with either the Lib Dems or the Independents.  Depending on the state of fraternal relationships ie do the others have enough in common to gang up against them, as the largest group by far, it could try a minority administration.

SNP 18 (no change);  Conservatives 10 (-1);  Lib Dems 5 (-2);  Labour 4 (+1);  Others 4 (+2)

(appear to be accurate)


A Labour triumph, not just because it took a majority of seats, but also because they took the seat of a Government Minister who just happened to be the former council leader.  Oh, and the SNP’s election campaign co-ordinator.  Oh dear.  One thing Alex Salmond has always realised and followed through on has been securing his own backyard, to reinforce his electability and fend off any question marks over his leadership qualities.  Take note, Derek Mackay.

Labour 22 (+3);  SNP 15 (-2);  Conservatives 1 (no change);  Lib Dems 1 (-2);  Others 1 (+1)

(appears to be accurate, though the Steamie might wish to note that it is not “Renfrew” council….)

Scottish Borders

There are no Labour councillors here at all.  The Lib Dems took a cuffing, the SNP made some gains but the Conservatives still ended up as the largest group overall.  A right mixed bag.

Who’ll run the council?  It will be a Tory/independent administration.  Though the SNP might want to try and form a coalition with the Independents and Lib Dems.

Conservatives 10 (-2);  Others 9 (+3);  SNP 9 (+3);  Lib Dems 6 (-4)

(appear to be accurate)


See Orkney above.

Independents 22 (no change)

South Ayrshire

Labour made some small gains at everyone’s expense but the Conservatives still finished as the largest party.  Particularly saddened to see Tom Slider of the SNP lose his seat.

Who’ll run the Council?  Well, look at the stats below and you tell me.  Can the Tories run a minority administration (again)with Independents’ support?  Or could Labour and the SNP manage the impossible and come together to form a stable administration?

Conservative 10 (-2);  Labour 9 (+3);  SNP 9 (-1);  Others 2 (no change)

(appear to be accurate)

South Lanarkshire

Here’s another one where the SNP actually did very well but that performance has been masked by the failure to meet expectations.  Labour remain the largest group but the margin of difference between it and the SNP was reduced.

Who’ll run the council?  Labour has the moral authority and falls just short of a majority, so will seek a deal with the Independents and/or Lib Dem.

Labour 33 (+1);  SNP 28 (+4);  Conservatives 3 (-4);  Others 2 (no change);  Lib Dem 1 (-1)

(appear to be accurate)


The SNP consolidated its position and became the largest party.  Mark Ruskell, former MSP, is back in politics being elected for the Scottish Greens and the Lib Dems were wiped out.

Who’ll run the council?  Probably an SNP minority administration, with issue by issue support perhaps from the Scottish Green.  But to avoid another budget fiasco where Labour and the Tories ganged up on the previous SNP administration, they’ll need to buy off the Tories as well at each financial round.  Of course, Labour and the Tories could reform their alliance from before the election.

SNP 9 (+2);  Labour 8 (no change);  Conservatives 4 (no change);  Scottish Greens 1 (+1);  Lib Dems 0 (-3)

(appear to be accurate)

West Dunbartonshire

A very good result for Labour taking control of the council again, in an almost direct transfer from the SNP, which lost a third of its seats.  Jim Bollan, the SSP councillor, lost held his seat despite with a strong 1st preference vote.  It will be interesting to see if Labour can make a better fist of it than previously – this was the council damned by Audit Scotland under the controversial Andy Whyte.

BBC figs at 10am: Labour 12 (+4);  SNP 6 (-3);  Others 2 (-1);  SSP 0 (-1)

BBC figs at 12 noon:  Labour 12 (+4);  SNP 6 (-3);  Others 3 (-1);  SSP 1 (no change)

This would now appear to be accurate.  And I have to say, I checked and re-checked their listing for Jim Bollan who had such a strong 1st preference vote it did seem strange he lost….  Thanks BBC.  And thanks for changing it too.  Not.

West Lothian

Another interesting one.  No one finished with an overall majority but Labour can claim moral authority with half the seats.  The SNP had run this council with support from Independents, but most of them lost their seats.

Who’ll run the council?  Labour will try for a minority administration or to secure a slender majority, give some baubles to the Independent or Tory.

Labour 16 (+2);  SNP 15 (+2);  Conservative 1 (no change);  Others 1 (-3)

I think, at last, I’m done.  Two words.  Never.  Again.


A Woman’s Place is in the Parliament

This was the slogan of the 1999 cross party campaign to achieve gender balance in the Scottish Parliament.  I bought the T shirt, wore it and might just have to consider digging it out of the drawer.

Because our political parties are in need of a wee reminder that oor place is indeed, in oor Parly.

To mark the 100th International Women’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to try and work out if the decline in female representation witnessed in 2007 might be halted in this Holyrood election.  Now that all the parties have filled their stalls in constituencies and on list rankings, are we likely to wake up on 6 May to more or fewer women MSPs?

The exercise of working out how many MSPs will be women is fraught with difficulty, but the Scotland Votes predictor helps enormously.  There is still a little guesstimating on which regions will produce which list MSPs for each of the parties:  I used previous results and a little of my scarily encyclopaedic knowledge of the foibles of Scottish politics to fill in any blanks.

Of course, it depends on which poll findings you use to predict the final outcome.  I used the most recent one, which I know is compromised by its weighting and sampling biases, but it wasn’t too far off what other polls conducted before Christmas were showing.  If readers demand a stewards’ inquiry, the exercise can be re-calibrated using the one that put the SNP ahead to see if it makes any difference.  I doubt it will.

Make no mistake, the findings are woeful.  On the burdz calculations, Scotland’s Parliament could start its fourth term with only 43 out of 129 MSPs being women.  That’s exactly a third.  Which means we will have stood still since 2007 while continuing the downward trend from the dizzy heights of 40% recorded in 2003. 

Flatlining sure isn’t anything to be proud of.

According to this latest opinion poll, the SNP will return only 35 MSPs.  Of these, a quarter of its constituency MSPs are likely to be women, with nine of the 23 list MSPs returned being women, meaning they will occupy 34% of its seats at Holyrood.  This will, in fact, mark an improvement on gender representation in the SNP group on 2007 – which suggests without all the tortured calculations, that a victory for the SNP in May will have minimal impact, and indeed might have a detrimental one on the Parliament’s overall balance.

It is a major shift in internal party policy by Scottish Labour which has done for any aspirations of improved gender balance.  The practice of twinning constituencies is no more and it means that left to their own devices, Constituency Labour Parties have chosen to replace all those women MSPs standing down at this election with men.  Not a single solitary seat will return a woman this time round.  It means that only 29% of Labour’s constituency MSPs will be women and no matter how and where the 10 list seats come from, only six of them are likely to be women. 

The result?  Worse gender balance than the SNP.  The party of fifty-fifty gender balance all the way through the first twelve years of devolution has come crashing down to a low point of 34% (and that’s only cos I rounded it up). Janey Buchan and Maria Fyfe will be tearing out what’s left of their hair.

Depressing isn’t it?  So how about this one:  the Lib Dems, who according to this poll, will be down to just nine seats will elect a single, solitary female MSP in Margaret Smith.  The Conservatives will manage no female constituency MSPs and probably at best, six from the regional lists giving a percentage share of seats to women of 40%.  Yep, the Tories will do better on gender balance than either Labour or the SNP.  

A bright spot to finish on – if Margo is standing again, and she has said she is, then her return will mark a full 100% for the Independents.  And if the Greens take six seats as this poll predicts they might, then either three and possibly four of those seats could go to women, depending on which regions return Green MSPs.  A political group with a majority of women MSPs.  Imagine.

Overall, it’s pretty dismal stuff with which to mark International Women’s Day but it is important.  It would seem our dreams of a new politics are almost as deid as the dodo, that dreams of equal representation for women in the Scottish Parliament are stuck in the pipe, and that without some measures of positive action – as evidenced by the collapse in Labour’s representation – women have much less chance of being selected, never mind elected.

Next time I visit Holyrood, I might just don my *A Woman’s Place is in the Parliament* T shirt.  A little faded and frayed it might be, but sadly, its message is still relevant today.

(For more like this, visit the excellent The Shoogly Peg blog – her totals are different from mine, because she looks at total candidates rather than just winnable seats.)